Ruben Gallego, Congressional Candidate in District 7, Responds to Name-Change Complaint
It was meant to deliver a blow to Ruben Gallego's campaign for a seat in Arizona's 7th Congressional District, but it seems a complaint suggesting he was "misrepresenting" himself to voters by using various names has created an opportunity for the politician to talk about his hardscrabble life and the challenges he's overcome.
Though the complaint filed against Gallego in Maricopa County Superior Court alleges he never legally changed it, Ruben Marinelarena did legally change his name to Ruben Marielarena Gallego in August 2008, according to Superior Court documents.
"My father abandoned my family when I was young. His choice to leave made my life and the lives of my three sisters much harder. I slept on the floor until I went to college, and my sisters and I had to rely on the free lunch program to make sure we ate. His last name is Marinelarena."
Great strategy, had it come from Gallego's camp.
Instead, Phoenix resident and onetime legislative candidate Mike Snitz filed the complaint in hopes of booting Gallego from the ballot by implying that he wasn't listing his legal name on election related documents.
Ironically, Snitz also refers to Gallego as "Gallegos" in the complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, adding yet another name to Gallego's résumé.
On Snitz's Facebook page -- one devoted to his 2012 run for District 30 -- he notes that he has served on several boards including the Maricopa County Board of Health and was appointed by County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.
Gallego's statement continues:
I was raised by a single mom and changed my name to honor the woman who raised me. I have been very open about this decision and the circumstance behind it.
My mom is an immigrant and struggled every day to raise four kids on her own. Our family never had enough, but she gave all she had to make sure her kids got an education and an opportunity to succeed. Two of us went to Harvard on scholarships, and my sister is going to be a doctor. My mom's last name is Gallego."
My mom is the reason I have had so many incredible opportunities in my life. I'm very proud to have her name.
In the state Legislature, I fought to make sure working mothers like my own were not taken advantage of by a system that already makes it extremely difficult to raise a child on your own. In Congress, I'll continue to fight for working moms because I know firsthand how far they go for their kids.
Got a tip? Send it to: Monica Alonzo.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.